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← Rise of religion in Russia

adiroth's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by adiroth

You have to know that the hook of organised religions is not only the supernatural story they're trying to sell. The most powerful hook they have over the masses is the self-supporting ecosystem they've built to benefit their ingroup. They provide social support, camaraderie, positive reinforcement for expected behaviours, punishment for infractions and many other little things that makes it easy to be part of their organisation. Little sects often take more out of their members than they provide, creating unsustainable conditions, but established religions can usually tend their flock well enough, milking them while growing their population.

Religions are sold in package. If you want to get all the benefits, you will have to buy into the supernatural crap too. Secular organisations, ideas and science, however, are the complete opposite. You don't have to say hail Darwins when you go to hospital or pray to Benjamin Franklin when using electricity. So, you can say that religions are the free riders of scientific progress and secular institutions.

Given a group of relatively rational self-interested population, upon realising that modern conveniences can be taken for granted, the only thing they will worry about is whether the supernatural belief is worth the bonuses in the package. They won't have to sacrifice their iPhones and internet for believing in the supernatural.

If one can disregard the absurdity of the supernatural, in terms of utility, there really is not much to lose for joining a religion.

More specifically for Russia, I think religion have become popular again because the population have forgotten how corrupt it could be or the majority of the population have never experienced it first hand after all those years of Soviet rule. Give them some time, if the new religious institutions are not learning any new tricks, then Russia will most likely go the way of Europe after a period of religious revival.

However, religion is not going down without a fight, it's going to be a drawn out process, because in comparison, secular organisations in general do not actively attack them despite the religious right's fantasies.

Mon, 30 Jul 2012 17:50:44 UTC | #950315